Pallavi Paul’s artistic practice, founded on her academic research, encompasses film, installation, text, photography and performance. She holds a doctorate in cinema studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University and a postgraduate degree in media from Jamia Millia Islamia. Both these universities in Delhi have been repeatedly targeted by the right wing for promoting critical thinking and progressive politics. This experience has left its mark on her work.
“The Blind Rabbit” (2021, 43 min.) is a trenchant critique of systematic power abuse in India. Paul integrates several seemingly unrelated events, such as the Emergency of 1975-77 declared by prime minister Indira Gandhi, when major basic rights were curtailed, the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and the police assault on students at Jamia Millia Islamia in 2019, exposing deep-rooted structures of police brutality and oppression. Weaving text, image and sound into an essay, she acknowledges the complexity of multiple truths without ever trivialising the injustices suffered. She makes compelling use of fiction to counteract the always partial nature of memory and to unleash its defiant power.
“Long Hair Short Ideas” (2014, 21 min.) tells the story of Shanti, the wife of the revolutionary poet Vidrohi (1957-2015). Paul intertwines India’s turbulent political history in the 1970s with Shanti’s biography and her experience of (domestic) labour, partnership, sexuality and the daily discriminations faced by women. In this way Paul turns the spotlight on the “wife of the revolutionary”, a normally absent figure, portraying Shanti as an independent individual with her own history of resistance.
Pallavi Paul was born in New Delhi (India) in 1987. Her work has been shown, for example, at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam (2021), HKW (2020), The Rubin Museum (2019), Savvy Contemporary (2022), Beirut Art Centre (2018), AV Festival (2018, 2016), Contour Biennale (2017) and Tate Modern (2013).
IBB Video Space
Since 2011 the IBB Video Space has been screening artists who work with time-based media. The programme, which changes every month, features not only established names in contemporary video art but also up-and-coming artists rarely seen in museums to date. For these, the Berlinische Galerie seeks to facilitate an institutional début. Each month brings a new encounter with work that raises questions about the medium and about social or political issues. Importance is attached to including marginalised perspectives and to shedding light on the impact of power structures.